Voice from the Back

The arrogance of ownership (1)
“An Iranian man faces possible lengthy prison term or even the death penalty for attaching a sticker to the rear window of his car proclaiming `The era of arrogant rulers is over`” Yahoo News (18 December) It turns out that Ali Akbar Najafi who is an unlicensed taxi driver was arrested in southern Tehran and he claims that his client had thought up the phrase. “The era of arrogant rulers is over” is a beautiful way to describe the society we call socialist society. To Ali and his passenger we say, “Good on you. We want a world without owning class arrogance.” Ali should probably plead in court that he meant to put up a sticker that said “Aren’t my rulers wonderful, thoughtful and gorgeous.” With a bit of luck the arrogant swine might even believe it and not kill you. Truck on, Ali.

The arrogance of ownership (2)
An Italian financial wizard who has been caught with his hand in the till showed what he thought of members of the working class, who had gathered outside his court hearing. “Signor Tonna, who is suspected by prosecutors of involvement in constructing a network of offshore companies to hide a 10 billion euro (£7 billion) accounting hole, shouted at those assembled outside the Parma prosecutor’s office where he was taken for questioning: “I wish you and your families a slow and painful death” Times (6 January). A lovely system, a lovely man. Hopefully inside socialism we shall all behave in a much more humane fashion than that of our so-called betters such as Signor Tossa.

The Lazy Man Myth
According to some critics of socialism, it would not work because everybody is innately lazy. A recent report on working hours in Britain seems to contradict that view. “More Britons are working longer than the weekly maximum of 48 hours laid down by the European Union than when the legislation was introduced 11 years ago . . . Four million people, 16 percent of the country’s workforce, now work more than 48 hours a week. At the beginning of the 1990s the figure was 3.3 million (15 percent). The number of people spending more than 55 hours a week at work has increased to 1.5 million (8 percent)” Times (6 January).

Mass deception
The pretence that the US /UK invasion of Iraq had anything to do with the threat of “weapons of mass destruction” was always highly unlikely, but now it is quite apparent that it was fraudulent. “Asked on BBC’s Breakfast with Frost” whether he thought they would be discovered, Mr Blair replied: “I do not know is the answer.” The Prime Minister said that on the issue of WMD: “You can’t be definite at the moment about what has happened.” His words mark a strong contrast with his assertion before the war that Saddam Hussein was capable of launching a WMD in 45 minutes. He later said that claims that Iraq had destroyed all its weapons were “palpably absurd” Independent (12 January) None of this should come as a great surprise. Just as Prime Minister McMillan claimed in 1956 that the UK/French invasion of Egypt was not to gain control of the Suez Canal but to stop a war between Israel and Egypt, politicians are always cloaking their sordid economic and territorial aims behind high sounding principles.

Canadian capers
Canada is reckoned by most surveys to be one of the richest countries in the world, but that doesn’t stop it having a poverty problem; and of course plenty of reform schemes to “deal” with the problem. Here is one of the daftest we have come across. “The Potato Olan Program is the brainchild of of Iris Halbert, a student at the University of Toronto. It is organised by Ve’shavia , the Canadian Jewish Humanatarian and Relief Committee, which is combing the city in a van, handing out boiled potatoes in socks to those in the cold . . . ‘Simple solutions to complex problems, it’s what we need,’ said Halbert” Yahoo News (16 January) The idea seems to be that if you put the potato sock in your pocket it will keep warm for about three hours. Apparently an average of 15 homeless people a year die in Toronto from the cold. They probably don’t have the strength left, but you could hardly blame one of the homeless if they beaned one of the do-gooders with the ready-made cosh. Silly ideas like that keep us alive, how about you?

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